PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT JAMES IJAMES TO RECEIVE AAI’S VISIONARY AWARD
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (AAI), the nonprofit organization that is both an advocate and economic development catalyst for Philadelphia’s cultural and performing arts district, will celebrate its 30th anniversary Friday, October 6th, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.at the W Philadelphia hotel in Center City.
The evening which will feature musical performances by the University of the Arts Z Big Band, Russell Thompkins, Jr. of The Stylistics, BalletX, Opera Philadelphia, the Academy of Vocal Arts and The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, will celebrate the creation of the Avenue and reveal some exciting plans for its future. CBS News Philadelphia Anchor Jim Donovan will emcee the event.
A highlight of the 30th Anniversary Gala will be the presentation of AAI’s annual Visionary Award to James Ijames, the Pulitzer Prize-winning and five-time Tony Award-nominated playwright, director and educator. The AAI Visionary Award is given annually to those who have shown extraordinary accomplishment and leadership in the performing arts in Philadelphia. Ijames, whose plays have been produced by theaters throughout the country including Philadelphia’s own Wilma Theatre, took Broadway by storm in 2022 with “Fat Ham,” his comedy-drama riff on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” “I’m so honored to accept this award that bears the name of the place that has been my artistic home for many years,” Ijames says. “I look forward to celebrating the Avenue with so many of my friends in the Philly arts community.”
Championed in 1993 by Philadelphia’s visionary Mayor and later Governor, Edward G. Rendell, and developed under the leadership of its first Board Chair, Dr. Bernard C. Watson, followed by the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, the Avenue of the Arts, defined as South Broad Street from City Hall to Washington Avenue (including 13th and 15th Streets to the East and West), has exploded since the Avenue was designated as an arts district. Additions have included the Arts Bank, the Kimmel Center, the Wilma Theatre, the High School for Creative & Performing Arts, The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, Brandywine Workshop, The Prince Theater and the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
In recent years, the Avenue has also become home to numerous top hotel chains and destination restaurants as well as a highly-desirable residential neighborhood with more than 25,000 residents since the development of numerous new residential buildings.
“We have so much to celebrate at our 30th,” says Laura Burkhardt, Executive Director, “but we aren’t resting on our laurels. We have our eye very much set on the future.” The Avenue of the Arts, Inc. is excited to present a sneak peek at its plans for the future of the Avenue at the Anniversary Gala. “We have been working with Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm since 2022 to reimagine the Avenue, in what we’re calling the Avenue of the Arts 2.0 – a greener, more aesthetically-pleasing, more pedestrian-friendly streetscape with additional opportunities for live outdoor performances.”
Avenue of the Arts, Inc. Board Chair Dianne Semingson adds, “Avenue of the Arts 2.0’s goal is to revitalize the Avenue as a must-see 365-day arts destination that will draw thousands of citizens and visitors annually. In this post-pandemic world, we want to support the Avenue’s role as a prime economic driver for the region. For every dollar invested in arts and culture, five dollars in revenue is created. We want to make sure that the arts community continues to not just entertain but support the Philadelphia economy in the future.”
AAI’s 30th Anniversary Gala is co-chaired by Pat Del Camp and Dr. Thanuja Hamilton. For tickets to the Avenue of the Arts, Inc.’s 30th Anniversary Gala, go to: https://AAI-30th.eventbrite.com
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Laura Burkhardt at [email protected].
AAI and its associate organization, Friends of the Avenue of the Arts, work to promote investment, beautification and marketing of the Avenue of the Arts to make the Avenue a great place to live, work, shop and play.
SOURCE Avenue of the Arts, Inc.
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/avenue-of-the-arts-inc-celebrates-milestone-30th-anniversary-friday-october-6-at-the-w-philadelphia-with-musical-performances-and-a-sneak-peek-at-its-exciting-plans-for-the-future-301919759.html
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